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Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep

Ovis canadensis

Description:

Spotted a large herd of male and females along with several young sheep, on my way to Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Notes:

Bighorn males, called rams, are famous for their large, curled horns. These impressive growths are a symbol of status and a weapon used in epic battles across the Rocky Mountains. Fighting for dominance or mating rights, males face each other, rear up on their hind legs, and hurl themselves at each other in charges of some 20 miles (32 kilometers) an hour. The resounding clash of horns can be heard echoing through the mountains as the confrontation is repeated—sometimes for many hours—until one ram submits and walks away. The animal's thick, bony skull usually prevents serious injury. A Rocky Mountain bighorn ram's horns can weigh 30 pounds (14 kilograms)—more than all the bones in his body combined. Females (ewes) also have horns, but they are of smaller size. Rocky Mountain bighorns inhabit the mountains from Canada south to New Mexico. They are relatives of goats, and have balance-aiding split hooves and rough hoof bottoms for natural grip. These attributes, along with keen vision, help them move easily about rocky, rugged mountain terrain. Wild sheep live in social groups, but rams and ewes typically meet only to mate. Rams live in bachelor groups and females live in herds with other females and their young rams. When fall mating arrives, rams gather in larger groups and ram fighting escalates. Usually only stronger, older rams (with bigger horns) are able to mate. In winter, bighorn herds move to lower-elevation mountain pastures. In all seasons, these animals eat available grass, seeds, and plants. They regurgitate their food to chew it as cud before swallowing it for final digestion. Lambs are born each spring on high, secluded ledges protected from bighorn predators such as wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions—though not the golden eagles which target lambs. Young can walk soon after birth, and at one week old each lamb and its mother join others in a herd. Lambs are playful and independent, though their mothers nurse them occasionally for four to six months. The Above information and article credited to National Geographic: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/an...

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15 Comments

Josh Asel
Josh Asel 8 years ago

Awesome! Beautiful picture.

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 8 years ago

Thank you Mayra, Oneng, and Willie!

:-D

williefromwi
williefromwi 8 years ago

Nice capture of your spotting Brandon

OnengDyah
OnengDyah 8 years ago

Nice picture...

MayraSpringmann
MayraSpringmann 8 years ago

Wow!! Beautiful picture!

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 8 years ago

I agree 100%!!!

CindyBinghamKeiser
CindyBinghamKeiser 8 years ago

Sorry, I accidentally deleted my comment. I believe I said that Life works like that sometimes. I'm now in Southern California and had quite a culture shock. Lucky for us that there are great spottings everywhere!

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 8 years ago

It was a task. We loved Colorado and the mountains and the people. Things just didn't work out quite as planned so we moved back to NY. A big difference! We may end up purchasing a small place in the mountains in the future or maybe even as a vacation/retirement home. ;-) the future has yet to be determined!

CindyBinghamKeiser
CindyBinghamKeiser 8 years ago

That would be great! It must have been hard to leave Colorado. It was for me :)

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 8 years ago

Thank you Cindy! I have added this to those two missions. While we no longer reside in Colorado, I have hundreds if not thousands of photos of the Rocky Mountain wildlife and will continue to add them to the missions, as I upload the spottings. :-)

CindyBinghamKeiser
CindyBinghamKeiser 8 years ago

Beautiful shot Brandon! I'm sure FrancisQuintana would be happy to have you add this to his mission at: http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/8341...
and
EmilyMarino would to her mission at: http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/8465...
Both are in your area and this spotting would be perfect for them!

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 8 years ago

Thank you Emma, we were very blessed while living in Colorado to see many of the majestic species that call the Rockies home!

Hema
Hema 8 years ago

great spot!! Lucky you!

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 8 years ago

Thank you Gerardo! I was able to wander pretty close to them by keeping myself low to the ground so they would perceive no immediate threat from me. While I am sure they are semi-use to human contact being that they were very close to the park, I still was not going to take too much of a chance with them as there were several young animals in the herd. While they are not known to be super aggressive, one never knows what one will encounter when dealing with a herd with young.

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 8 years ago

Nice shot!

BrandonBlount
Spotted by
BrandonBlount

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Spotted on May 17, 2012
Submitted on May 17, 2012

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